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Thread: Don't Breathe (Fede Alvarez)

  1. #1
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Don't Breathe (Fede Alvarez)


    Da 5 Bloods - ** 1/2
    Le Choc Du Futur - ** 1/2
    TFW NO - 1/2 *


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  2. #2
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    Thought this was very solid stuff.

    Just generally really well constructed and executed visually, with a very clever and impressively plotted script, despite some character logic lapses that only seem to be there to move things forward more easily here and there. It also goes even further in some places than I imagined it would, especially with one late thread leading to at least one [
    ]

    My crowd for this was pretty great. Some insanely funny screams, one coming in the form of a violently loud dry heave-like noise, and the first of them all coming simply from the door slam in Raimi's Ghost House production logo, which immediately boded well for the rest. It all culminated in a rare round of applause, at least for my decade+ of experiences in this theatre.

    Lots of morbid, intense fun. Also a nice way to close out the summer before things get hopefully significantly more weighty with the movies of TIFF and awards season.

    *** / 7.5
    Last 11 things I really enjoyed:

    Speed Racer (Wachowski/Wachowski, 2008)
    Safe (Haynes, 1995)
    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999)
    Beastie Boys Story (Jonze, 2020)
    Bad Trip (Sakurai, 2020)
    What's Up Doc? (Bogdanovich, 1972)
    Diva (Beineix, 1981)
    Delicatessen (Caro/Jeunet, 1991)
    The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
    Pineapple Express (Green, 2008)
    Chungking Express (Wong, 1994)

  3. #3
    ............... Skitch's Avatar
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    Man I hope Fede Alvarez has a good career. I see potential. Cant wait to watch this.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
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    Pretty serviceable across the board. I like Jane Levy's presence throughout--she has great expressions despite saddled with a perfunctory backstory--and Lang is equally solid. If the film would have been willing to go truly dark for just another ten or 15 seconds "bank withdrawal" and Levy's character, that would have further shaded how she responds--and complicated each of these characters more.

    That said, the boy burglar survives one blow too many, stretching the realm of reality, and the coda seems to exist solely to open the film up to a sequel. If the film would have been willing to dig into the Detroit landscape more or get at anything more in-depth about the need to commit crimes to exist in a desolate American city, then this might have become more interesting. As it is, it's got some good tension throughout (I love how Alvarez lets the film go silent so much), but there's not quite enough here to raise this into the realm of excellence.

    Two nitpicks:

    Why disavow God but refuse to rape? Silly contradiction given what else The Blind Man does.

    How would Levy's character be able to kick open the house grate without shoes without brutalizing her feet? Small detail, but her force there seemed to imply she would have still had her shoes on...
    Ant-Man and the Wasp - 5
    Hereditary - 7
    Won't You Be My Neighbor? - 7.5
    The Tale - 8

  5. #5
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    I thought this was pretty great. Tense and engaging throughout. And I liked the subtext of the baby boomer sitting on a big pile of money versus the millennials hit by economic hardship.

    I thought it was clever to basically take the premise of Wait Until Dark and make the protagonist the antagonist and vice versa. It made for lots of moments where I was thinking, "Wait, why am I rooting for these guys again?"

    And maybe I'm just sick, but I would have liked to see them play out ...

    [
    ]

    I mean, if you're going to set up a sequel anyway ...
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  6. #6
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting dreamdead (view post)
    How would Levy's character be able to kick open the house grate without shoes without brutalizing her feet? Small detail, but her force there seemed to imply she would have still had her shoes on...
    On this note, I didn't understand ... [
    ]

    Things were happening quickly, so it's possible I missed something.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  7. #7
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    On this note, I didn't understand ... [
    ]

    Things were happening quickly, so it's possible I missed something.
    I forget what actually happened here, but I remember that it seemed to make sense as far as what was going on...

    Worst post ever?

    Da 5 Bloods - ** 1/2
    Le Choc Du Futur - ** 1/2
    TFW NO - 1/2 *


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  8. #8
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    Gets overly plotty and almost long-winded in the second half, when the starting scenario is ambiguous enough in our shifting sympathies to sustain the whole film. Its potential perspective on a certain crime, voiced out loud by a character themself, is also questionable at best (it slightly helps though that actions of the character have already deteriorated so much that the perspective doesn't become too jarring in the context of the film). Apart from that, just terrific, nerve-wracking tension, with such great craftsmanship; Alvarez rivals and maybe even surpasses James Wan this year in mapping out and then utilizing every bit of corner and angle for his horror house.


    Also, Jane Levy vs Stephen Lang becomes more formiddable than I would have first thought, which is more a compliment on Levy's presence because Lang is some serious pant-shittingly scary, one of the best horror villains in recent years.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  9. #9
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Peng (view post)

    Also, Jane Levy vs Stephen Lang becomes more formiddable than I would have first thought, which is more a compliment on Levy's presence because Lang is some serious pant-shittingly scary, one of the best horror villains in recent years.
    Absolutely this.

    Da 5 Bloods - ** 1/2
    Le Choc Du Futur - ** 1/2
    TFW NO - 1/2 *


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  10. #10
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    On this note, I didn't understand ... [
    ]

    Things were happening quickly, so it's possible I missed something.
    He [
    ]. It's a silly plot convenience that the movie's full of. I enjoyed the movie a lot, but it does rely heavily on vagueness [
    ].
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  11. #11
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    He [
    ]. It's a silly plot convenience that the movie's full of. I enjoyed the movie a lot, but it does rely heavily on vagueness [
    ].
    Fair point on the kidnapping. I didn't think about that. I figured he lured her in somehow.

    One thing that bugs me about the movie is the opening shot. What's the point of that future shot?

    Da 5 Bloods - ** 1/2
    Le Choc Du Futur - ** 1/2
    TFW NO - 1/2 *


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  12. #12
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    And maybe I'm just sick, but I would have liked to see them play out ...

    [
    ]

    I mean, if you're going to set up a sequel anyway ...
    Clearly we are both sick, since I'm waiting for the sequel to establish that The Blind Man had already administered the insemination while she was unconscious and that she never realized he'd done so. While that'd be stretching incredulity, like you I'm unsure why they wouldn't go that route when a sequel already seems planted in our minds.

    Equally, I'm unclear why during that whole travail Rocky was unable to mention that she in fact has a daughter. It absolutely feels like the tactic that she'd use to try to extricate herself from the situation, and yet the screenplay never has her try to use empathy to remove herself from harm's way. Neglectful on a script level.
    Ant-Man and the Wasp - 5
    Hereditary - 7
    Won't You Be My Neighbor? - 7.5
    The Tale - 8

  13. #13
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    From everything leading up to that situation, I myself don't feel like that's out of character or context at all. She is a teenager (or barely out of one) who doesn't have a daughter of her own to instantly jump to that potential mindset (or to even think he would believer her); the timing between when she realizes what the old man wants to do to her as well and he beginning to do it is very short; and he putting the blame on them, feeling they have to pay for it, and just being crazy in general and deadly determined since his first kill doesn't seem like one to be reasoned with. The horror dawning on her so that she only has a few moments' chance to try to wriggle violently and physically out of her contraption before he locks her in doesn't seem far-fetched at all. (At that point I would be very sensitive to any bad contrivance, because this turn of events was having me going "ugh really, movie?")
    Last edited by Peng; 09-12-2016 at 12:19 PM.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  14. #14
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Fair point on the kidnapping. I didn't think about that. I figured he lured her in somehow.
    The whole setup is absurd. Why was he bitter about the court keeping her out of jail if he agreed to a million dollar settlement? Why would she be able to be lured by a scary dude she knows hates her guts to an abandoned neighborhood he lives in? When the rich girl was first kidnapped, why wouldn't he be the first person investigated by the police? And for that matter, it seems risky for someone keeping a woman in a basement dungeon to have an alarm system that calls the police automatically.

    It's to the movie's credit in pacing that all of these only occurred to me all at once when she was watching the news broadcast at the end.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  15. #15
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    The whole setup is absurd. Why was he bitter about the court keeping her out of jail if he agreed to a million dollar settlement? Why would she be able to be lured by a scary dude she knows hates her guts to an abandoned neighborhood he lives in? When the rich girl was first kidnapped, why wouldn't he be the first person investigated by the police? And for that matter, it seems risky for someone keeping a woman in a basement dungeon to have an alarm system that calls the police automatically.

    It's to the movie's credit in pacing that all of these only occurred to me all at once when she was watching the news broadcast at the end.
    Ha. All good points that I never even thought about.

    Probably used that money to pay someone off for the job I guess?

    Da 5 Bloods - ** 1/2
    Le Choc Du Futur - ** 1/2
    TFW NO - 1/2 *


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  16. #16
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Probably used that money to pay someone off for the job I guess?
    What I ended up assuming, which with the stuff 8 said is pretty much the mode the film's questions and twists operate in.

    But the thing that I was most stumped on was dude was seemingly dead in the basement when we left him. And we're just assuming there was no sort of sweep of said basement at that point? I mean, the outdoor entrance was pretty much gone too, right?
    Last 11 things I really enjoyed:

    Speed Racer (Wachowski/Wachowski, 2008)
    Safe (Haynes, 1995)
    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999)
    Beastie Boys Story (Jonze, 2020)
    Bad Trip (Sakurai, 2020)
    What's Up Doc? (Bogdanovich, 1972)
    Diva (Beineix, 1981)
    Delicatessen (Caro/Jeunet, 1991)
    The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
    Pineapple Express (Green, 2008)
    Chungking Express (Wong, 1994)

  17. #17
    Yep, solid all-around. Alvarez's camera is the star. This is really slickly made, and the frame moves meticulously without feeling distracting. I'm impressed with how much tension they milked out of this very basic premise. Love the escalation at the mid-way point. It was exactly what the film needed to add juice to the "good guy"/"bad guy" interplay, which was already pretty interesting. Some contrivances and flat characters keep it from being a classic, but it's a very strong genre exercise.

    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    On this note, I didn't understand ... [
    ]
    This really bothered me, too.
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    Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) **1/2

  18. #18
    the maker of my own evil Ivan Drago's Avatar
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    With its gore, the Evil Dead remake made me feel physically sick.

    With its camerawork and clever premise, Don't Breathe made me feel physically uncomfortable.

    Fede Alvarez has got some chops, yo.
    Last Five Films I've Seen (Out of 5)

    Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Tsukamoto, 1989) WTF
    The Wolf Man (Waggner, 1941) 4
    The Exterminating Angel (Buñuel, 1962) 4.5
    Maniac (Lustig, 1980) 4.5
    Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning (Steinmann, 1985) 2
    Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Hedden, 1989) 3
    Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Buechler, 1988) 4
    Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (Misumi, 1972) 4.5

    The last movie I saw in a theater before the apocalypse was Cats.

    Let that sink in.

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  19. #19
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    This was a nice bounce back from Evil Dead for Fede Alvarez. Let's keep in mind. This is the guy who got the Evil Dead gig for basically making a silent youtube movie. I expect this kind of evolution from a filmmaker. Let's see if he can tighten up his films a little more from here. But yeh, this was a great reversal-home invasion flick.

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  20. #20
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    Yeah, loved the first two-thirds of this flick and spent the back third not as thrilled by some of you in regards to the moral depravity of Lang - who's a fearsome villain, absolutely, but the flick was a bit more interesting when I was feeling tension between my empathy for the trio of burglars (or at least two of them) and my empathy for the blind victim.

    Once the rape stuff came into play (I'm sorry, insemination), the flick for better or worse slipped into the squicky moral landscape of '70s rape-revenge pictures (because once he's all about that sweet, sweet rape, we can turn off our moral judgments and let the cum-basters fly). It also felt like the film "ended" multiple times, offering continual "not just yet" swings with Lang escaping his chains, the dog chasing her, Lang knocking her out and dragging her, and the false ending with the basement door closing on Lang's lifeless eyes. I would've been perfectly happy with the movie ending there - the real ending played like them chasing an ending that tonally matched the cruelty of the previous 80 minutes but through contrived plotting.

    I wasn't big on Fede's Evil Dead remake, which felt about 10% more effective than your average Platinum Dunes film, but this shows a much stronger command of suspense and camerawork. At times, this one reminded me of Panic Room, not just for the swoopy camera moves at the beginning, but for the empathy that Fincher's film gave to Forest Whitaker. Here, Fede also gets fantastic performances out of Levy and Lang. It's just too bad this is his second of two feature films where he felt the need to threaten Levy with rape to make sure we were shocked. Although she didn't get penetrated this time, which is progress of a sort.

    A film I'd recommend, for sure, although I'd also want to talk with whoever I guided toward the film once they've seen it, to see how they responded to the final third.

  21. #21
    Body Double Rico's Avatar
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    I'm sure you could nitpick this movie to death if you wanted to. It's not perfect by any means. But the way it bounces from one situation to the next like a roller coaster, it doesn't let you breathe. That is exactly what I want from a good thriller.

  22. #22
    Not a praying man Melville's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    When the rich girl was first kidnapped, why wouldn't he be the first person investigated by the police? And for that matter, it seems risky for someone keeping a woman in a basement dungeon to have an alarm system that calls the police automatically.
    Quote Quoting Dead & Messed Up (view post)
    Yeah, loved the first two-thirds of this flick and spent the back third not as thrilled by some of you in regards to the moral depravity of Lang - who's a fearsome villain, absolutely, but the flick was a bit more interesting when I was feeling tension between my empathy for the trio of burglars (or at least two of them) and my empathy for the blind victim. Once the rape stuff came into play (I'm sorry, insemination), the flick for better or worse slipped into the squicky moral landscape of '70s rape-revenge pictures (because once he's all about that sweet, sweet rape, we can turn off our moral judgments and let the cum-basters fly). It also felt like the film "ended" multiple times, offering continual "not just yet" swings
    Yeah, I really liked the first two thirds, but all of this bothered me, especially the rape angle. It seemed needlessly unpleasant. And combined with the repeated "he's not down yet" twists and the awkwardly Dostoevsky-quoting villainous dialogue, it made the movie feel more like a stock horror movie, and the antagonist more of a schlocky horror movie monster.
    I am impatient of all misery in others that is not mad. Thou should'st go mad, blacksmith; say, why dost thou not go mad? How can'st thou endure without being mad? Do the heavens yet hate thee, that thou can'st not go mad?

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  23. #23
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Yeah, Fede Álvarez is an excellent thriller director. He seems to be inspired by Fincher's omnipresent camera sweeps here, particularly the Fincher from Panic Room and The Game.

    Some of those plot holes occurred to me, but to be honest, they're mostly implausible events that stretch believability but never break it. Loved the "insemination" angle and I also agree that some of that is sure to pop out in the sequel.

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